I saw her pained expression as she described the only earthly “love” she’d known in all her growing up years. She said that, although she didn’t have anyone else that loved her, she knew her mom did– in her own way. But what she described to me was far from what I’d call love. It was a shattered and distorted reflection of the real thing.
Love. What is love? The Webster definition of love is: “a feeling of deep affection, passion or strong liking for a person.” Now let me ask you…If love is a positive emotion, then why are many people hurt by this thing called, “love?”
As parents, we are expected to love our children. And we do. But, unfortunately, too many times we hurt them instead. They feel condemned rather than loved. I have been guilty of this at times. My harsh or critical words wound when I should be praising. I don’t intend to, but I tear down when I should be building up.
The lady I was talking with told me that, starting when she was ten, her mom would shoot her up with heroin when she would take it herself. We may not be like that mom, but instead of drugs, we shoot others with hurtful, accusing words. We may condemn the drug-addict-mom who loves her drugs more than her children, while we ourselves are also guilty of selfish love. Whenever our own comfort, personal likes, or emotional sanity is more important to us than our children, we are not demonstrating a proper love. When we become impatient, we are exemplifying a selfish love. Ouch. This steps on my toes as much as it does yours.
Our love is perverted when we are full of ourselves. When our happiness is more important than our desire of obeying the commands of God. When your spouse doesn’t meet your needs or desires, does your love for God supersede your selfishness? Are you willing to love your spouse with agape love when they fail your expectations?
I recently met another woman who was hurting because her husband couldn’t handle the intense stress of her prison sentence. She was at fault in an automobile accident that caused the death of another person. As I caught a glimpse of her losses, I became disgusted at the selfish “love” demonstrated by her unfaithful husband.
My friend, true love doesn’t bail out when the going gets tough. Forget trying to find true love if you don’t show true love during the difficult times you face. Your life is read by those around you. Those who are closest to you will know if you really love them.
If you or someone you know is involved in pornography, it is obvious that they are not loving those closest to them. Pornography and adultery is extremely damaging and hurtful because, not only is it sinful and addicting, but it’s also seeped in selfishness. Lust is when an individual’s love for themselves is a stronger force than their love for their spouse, child, or anyone else who’s close to them. They also don’t care for the person they are lusting after. Lust is based on self-gratification, selfishness, pride, and the sin of adultery.
Biblically, we are commanded to love as Jesus loved us. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) So how does Jesus love? Jesus loves each of us sacrificially. Unconditionally. Unselfishly. Genuinely. Unendingly. Completely. And eternally. Even though we try to love, we will always be lacking. We may do the best we can, but it will never measure up. Our love will always fall short. You may ask…then why try? My friend, the answer is not in trying harder.
I will never be able to fully love my spouse or my children. But I can ask Jesus to do the loving through me. I can’t love. But He can. And He does! When I fail yet again, His love enables me to humbly acknowledge my failure and ask for forgiveness. His love motivates me to encourage when I naturally discourage. To praise when I feel like criticizing. Building up instead of tearing down.
Dear God, You are love. I don’t need more earthly love. I need more of You! Your life and power. The very essence of who You are…LOVE.
Cindy (For The Mullett Family)